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The field of studies labelled palaeoceanography integrates research on foraminifers and other microfossils within their environment on deep-sea sediments raised by cores taken from ships. The first large-scale project deserving the label was the Swedish Deep-Sea Expedition, which used the sailing vessel Albatross and the then newly developed Kullenberg coring machine to raise hundreds of long cores from around the world during 1947–1948. Thus, just as the Challenger Expedition (1872–1876) serves as a marker point for the beginnings of oceanography, the Albatross represents the beginnings of palaeoceanography. The unique defining element – the link of micropalaeontology to ocean circulation and climate – came to dominate discussions in the 1950s with the reports by Gustaf Arrhenius and Cesare Emiliani. At the same time, important steps in the evolution of the new field depended on the expansion of the inventory of cores by major oceanographic institutions (especially Lamont Geological Observatory in Palisades, New York), and on the introduction of new dating methods. Subsequently, the field benefited from the increased use of various statistical techniques, as well as of numerical modelling, all of which profited greatly from the rapid growth of computing power.

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